Daughter’s pregnancy ruins wedding plans

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I am a 55 year old divorced woman who has been a devoted mother to my 3 grown children. I am engaged to a wonderful man, age 58, who my kids really love and we planned to be married in May, 2007, on a Caribbean Island. We have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to make this wedding wonderful for the kids; renting a large, expensive villa and providing at least half of the airfare for the kids. My middle daughter,age 29, had a miscarriage in June, 2006, but otherwise has no reason to believe that she would have a problem conceiving.I dropped everything and made a 1400 mile roundtrip to be with her during that time,for over a week, showing constant support, as I have with everything in my children’s lives. She and her husband are very anxious to start a family. She was aware of our wedding plans, and we discussed a number of times that it would be best for them to wait before becoming pregnant, to give her body a rest, and also, because of our wedding plans. Today, my daughter, whom I have always been extremely close to, announced that she is pregnant and due just a few weeks before our wedding! She is very defensive about this and although I am excited, I was honest with her, in a sensitive way, that this is going to put our wedding plans into a state of chaos. She was very indignant, saying, well this is a BABY! I realize that this is a fait accompli, but I am hurt that she and her husband did not keep their promise and honor our plans to marry by clearing that time for us. We have made many sacrifices for our kids and would like them to put us first for once.I have always had a great relationship with my kids, but I feel that my daughter and her husband are being really selfish. I know I can’t do anything about the baby now, and want to be excited and supportive, but I am am so hurt and angry, I don’t know what to do next…

A: What you do next is apologize to your daughter and cebebrate with her. She is giving you the best compliment ever: She wants to be a mom just like you. It makes sense to me that the grief for the loss of her baby and the hope of creating a new life took priority over your party.
There’s something about weddings that seems to make people a little bit crazy. I’m glad you have found love in your life again. I’m happy for your good fortune to be able to make a wonderful holiday out of the wedding event. I’m assuming from your letter that your kids are also glad for you. But you’ve lost sight of the fact that it’s not the wedding that’s important, it’s the marriage you are making with your new husband and the relationships the two of you are forging with all the people you hold dear. You are the mother. Your daughter, even an adult daughter, is your child. She is moving forward, as she should, in the stream of life. Having miscarried, she is probably both relieved and anxious. She needs your support, not a scolding. In the great scheme of things, your wedding day is only a day. The relationship between you and your husband and this new family will go on for years. Give it the right start.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Sep 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Daughter’s pregnancy ruins wedding plans. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/09/10/daughters-pregnancy-ruins-wedding-plans/